My ex-wife owes me tens of thousands of dollars in child support arrears. Our child is now going to live with her, and I have an upcoming child support hearing to set my support.
I would like to know once the support has been calculated, if I can submit the arrearages to lower my support payments?
Am I on the right track or do the arrears not matter in this situation?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
There are no black and white answers here, unfortunately, and the facts of each case will play a big part in how this will play out for you in court.
However, if you are making the right arguments to the domestic relations office (DRO) in court, then that should certainly help your case.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease many times, and being persistent, though respectful and appropriate, in your position is also important. They may want to sweep this issue under the rug and just enter a regular order with you as payor at the guideline amount, so you may be up against that as a threshold matter.
If the support order was through the DRO and the arrears are in the system already, this should at the very least be considered in the newly pending action with you as defendant.
In order to make sure that this is being looked at, you may want to contact the DRO yourself and speak with your caseworker to alert them as to the pending new case and to register your concerns. They may want to have you file paperwork as well and consolidate that with the pending court date.
I am not aware of any specific rules stating that arrears on a cross-captioned case will be automatically applied to a new case. However, that will be one argument you would need to make to the court — and it seems to be a reasonable argument under the facts you described.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.